Jeremy It’s not easy picking holes in an off-roader as good as the Discovery. Some UK car magazines now say the Hyundai Santa Fe (tested on Car Couture earlier this year) is the better machine – it’s certainly more affordable. But when it comes to grunt, secondhand value and all round ability, the Land Rover has the edge.
So what’s not to like about the Discovery? Well, styling is probably the most obvious. I actually think the shape is uncluttered and sharp but parked next to a Hyundai or a BMW X5, it has already started to look a little dated.
Then there is the fuel consumption. The V6 engine produces 255bhp and really gives the Discovery plenty of shove but it also soaks up the diesel. Officially, the Discovery returns 32mpg in the combined cycle but you will have to tread very lightly on the accelerator to get above 30mpg in the real world.
Other faults? Well, both Jessica and I constantly bash the paddle gearshifters on the steering column with our knuckles, which instantly puts the Discovery into manual mode when it is not required. The air con fan is rather harsh for a luxury vehicle and flattening the centre row of seats can be awkward.
Then I start to struggle! This is a great machine – you pay a lot for the pleasure of owning one but the Discovery is still the one to beat for my money.
Jeremy Thunder and lightning are sweeping across Wiltshire today but after a wonderful July it’s going to be flooding next for sure. The Discovery is the perfect machine for this type of weather – as I discovered in Northern Ireland six years ago.
Driving back from the Mountains of Mourne in appalling weather, I came across a family who were stranded in flood water which was lapping up around the side of their Mondeo. I was in a V8 petrol Discovery 3, drinking fuel at 14mpg! However, I was very glad to be in the Land Rover because a guy in an Audi allroad seemed to be going under in his own rescue attempt too.
We managed to pull the Mondeo out but the car was a write-off, with water pouring out of the doors when we reached safety. The allroad survived but the owner was a bit miffed his 4×4 hadn’t lived up to expectations…
I know people who own off-road vehicles and never, ever go further than a muddy field at a party. Having driven across Mongolia twice in a Discovery, I can tell you there are few cars that will get you anywhere AND is such comfort.
Jeremy – Seven people, one large dog. The Discovery has to be one of the largest 4x4s on the road but with all seven passenger seats occupied, today I ended up in the front with a Hungarian Viszla on my lap while Jessica drove us out.
I’m not sure anybody has ever cracked the problem of how to carry seven people in an off-roader AND their luggage. Once the third row of seats are folded out of the floor in the Discovery, there isn’t even enough room for a suitcase in the luggage area.
With three children in our party, at least we know that the Land Rover would survive the test of time and the arms and legs of many little people. The seats may be covered in luxury leather but I’m sure you could put an angry calf in the back without having to worry!
Two of the children decided it would be much more fun to get into the third row of seats from the rear door, rather than via the side ones. No problem. This is a true Land Rover, built to cope with anything and very, very robust.